El Shaddai

Daryl F. Jefferies djefferi at chorus.net
Tue Dec 24 10:45:12 EST 2002

Chris, Trevor, and others,

I've always found the connection of Shaddai and "breast(s)" following 
from a "lost" goddess/consort image very interesting (though I don't 
have bibliography at hand to share).  Any comments on why this is 
apparently seldom considered?

Daryl Jefferies

>  >===== Original Message From Chris Watts-westmaas <watts-westmaas at zonnet.nl>
>>The next word that has bugged me is the word: SHADDAI, root sdy.  I have
>>read briefly that this finds itself back to the akkadian: SADU/SADDU'a,
>>meaning 'mountain';  Also that 'SADU' - mountain wilderness and 'SADEH' -
>>uncultivated field go back to the root - Shin, Dalet, Yud.
>There are other suggestions as to the etymology. George Mendenhall suggested
>in a presentation at the SBL meeting last month in Toronto that it is a
>geographical referent. I forget where the pair of mountains he was considering
>were located. But he added repeatedly that the biblical writers probably did
>not remember where the name originated. They simply knew it as a traditional
>designation for a particular deity.
>>In view of all
>>this how on earth do we arrive at Shaddai to mean Almighty in the context
>>of GOD Almighty.  Could it not possibly be that God revealed Himself to
>>Abraham in the context of his wilderness wanderings as 'GOD of the
>As with any other word study, etymology should be considered only with
>significant reservations, especially when dealing with proper nouns, which can
>have varied (and questionable) traditional etymologies. I don't know that God
>Almighty is the best translation--probably better, as with any proper noun, to
>transliterate it. It might have some support from versions, but I don't have
>any handy here to check right now.
>Trevor Peterson
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Daryl F. Jefferies, Ph.D.
djefferi at chorus.net

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